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Original Issue



Skiing is actually very safe, if you're thinking while you do it.
--PATRICK ALLEN, Bemus Point, N.Y.

Thank you, Rick Reilly, for not following the rest of the media
and turning skiing into a "death sport" because two celebrities
made poor decisions (POINT AFTER, Jan. 19). Skiing is a
wonderful sport. If you respect the mountain and understand your
limits, it can be not only safe but also one of the most
beautiful sports in the world.
BILL GRAY, Westminster, Colo.

As Reilly asserts, skiing remains a relatively safe sport.
Nevertheless, it is clear that Reilly has never experienced the
deep pain of losing someone in a skiing accident. If he had, he
never would have written such an insensitive essay. To belittle
the recently departed for their "stupid" actions is a slap in
the face to those who mourn their loss.
ANDREW MORRIS, New Haven, Conn.


Your article about lively baseball bats hit home (SCORECARD,
Jan. 12). Last June my 12-year-old son was struck in the head by
a batted ball as he was pitching. It fractured his skull and
caused an epidural hemorrhage that required surgery.

The NCAA may or may not have a serious problem, but Little
League and other youth leagues certainly do. The pitcher is
standing only 46 feet from home plate. He's pitching to
12-year-old players, some of whom are near adult size. Is this a
death waiting to happen? You bet it is.
AUSTIN G. SMITH, Berlin, Conn.

Beyond the safety comparison of aluminum and wooden bats, we
need to consider the athletes of today, pitchers throwing harder
than ever and hitters generating greater bat speed. If bat
performance isn't going to be regulated, raising the mound to 14
inches and/or enforcing the strike zone would be protective
steps that would cost nothing.


After reading about myself in SI (CATCHING UP WITH..., Jan. 12),
I felt the need to add that I would not trade my days of playing
for the New York Jets for anything. The friendships I made then
made me a more complete person. My current job with Bear Stearns
would not have been obtainable without my football recognition.

The 1982 AFC Championship Game was my biggest disappointment in
New York. I let the Jets down by throwing five interceptions.
But this is 1998. I was traded in '83, and the Jets have not
been back to the AFC championship since.

I did mention to SI that the best job in pro sports is a backup
quarterback, but I don't remember saying that I wanted to be
one, although I was one for a year in New Orleans.


I agree with writer Kostya Kennedy that slashing has to be dealt
with--it is a dangerous act that is harming the players as well
as the game (INSIDE THE NHL, Jan. 12). Another rule that should
be enforced is hooking. It is nearly impossible to see a player
drive for the net, with or without the puck, and not have a
defender cling to him. Once the NHL cracks down on hooking,
scoring will boom.

I commend SI on the recent addition of INSIDE THE NHL. Just when
I had given up hope of any meaningful coverage of the Coolest
Game on Earth, you afford the NHL equal treatment with other
DAVID O. KLEIN, New York City

COLOR PHOTO: ALAN MOTHNER/AP [John Starks in game]


How can you justify leaving the Knicks' John Starks (left) off
your All-Star picks (INSIDE THE NBA, Jan. 26)? As a sixth man,
Starks plays only about 25 minutes a game, instead of the
40-plus that most of the All-Star guards play. But a comparison
of points per 48 minutes at the time your selections came out
shows that Starks had outscored every guard on your Eastern
Conference All-Star team except for Michael Jordan and Reggie

Michael Jordan 36.3 points
Reggie Miller 27.7
John Starks 27.2
Steve Smith 24.5
Tim Hardaway 23.6
Damon Stoudamire 22.7
Rod Strickland 19.8